THE SWORD OF ALEX
by Rib Davis.
The White Bear Theatre, 138 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4JD to 6 October 2018.
Tues – Sun 7.30pm.
Runs 1hr 45 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 0333 012 4963.
Review: William Russell 20 September
The cost of independence
A good cast work hard to inject life into this undeniably intriguing play, but the mixture of private lives and public and political conflict over the desire of a region of a country to secure independence does not quite work and following things becomes rather confusing. The structure of the play, which consists of tiny scenes switching between the domestic life of Karl (DK Ugonna), the leader of the breakaway party and his wife Gina (Georgia Winters), the political power disputes between Karl and Antonio (Patrick Regia) as the strive to end the civil war, and Antonio’s relations with his former mistress Calantha (Kate Terence) does not help. The idea is simple enough – if the divisions in the state are tribal so too are those within a family.
It is not fault of the actress, but Karl’s domestic problems – she wants to leave, he refuses to accept that she can take their daughter with her – are distracting. On the other hand the one between Antonio and Calantha – she, we discover, is pregnant with his child but has no interest in continuing their relationship – does reveal just how single minded those who wish to retain power at all costs can be. But the rest of their relationship really does not, just as with that between Karl and Gina, quite work, although the violence when it comes is certainly shocking.
As for the discussion between Karl and Antonio, the heart of the play, about what is feasible, about how to get out of the situation they are in – there has been civil war, violence, people have died, reputations have to be protected, Antonio wants to retain his overall control, Karl needs some sort of recognition of independence – it is certainly interesting.
Director Brian Woolland has secured good performances and the piece does move briskly along – the verdict then it is worth catching but somehow doesn’t quite hit the target.
Calantha: Kate Terence.
Antonio: Patrick Regis.
Gina: Georgia Winters.
Karl: DK Ugonna.
Director: Brian Woolland.
Designer: Alys Whitehead
Assistant Designers: Rebecca Rae and Emma Cole
Lighting & Sound Design: Chuma Emembolu.
Designer Violence: David Broughton Davies.
Production photography: Valeria Coizza.